Hello and welcome to December. In what’s been a tough year for so many, we are very happy to report some good news this month. Congratulations are in order for three wonderful Fremantle Press creators.
‘If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life,’ George Eliot wrote in Middlemarch, ‘it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.’
What a month it’s been! Congratulations to our Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards winners and shortlisted authors: Fiona Burrows, Amanda Curtin, Rafeif Ismail, Kathryn Lefroy, Caitlin Maling, Meg McKinlay, Helen Milroy, Holden Sheppard and Ellen van Neerven. We are so proud of you all.
I met a bloke last week who said his father died 20 years ago and he had never got over it. My father died in 2002 and I can still hear him telling me how to remove the ceiling fan in the bathroom. I’d done it a couple of times before and I was over 50 years old, but that didn’t make any difference. As far as he was concerned I was still ‘bloody hopeless’.
We were lucky to chat with dystopian aficionado Brendan Ritchie about his chapter in the newly released book Beyond the Dark: Dystopian Texts in the Secondary English Classroom (edited by Patricia Dowsett, Ellen Rees and Alex Wharton, and published by the Australian Association for the Teaching of English). Brendan is well positioned to discuss dystopian fiction, with his Gold Inky Award longlisted debut novel, Carousel, exploring a dystopian Perth. The sequel, Beyond Carousel, continues to explore a post-apocalyptic world while raising pertinent questions about our own reality.
Father of the Lost Boys author and former child soldier Yuot A. Alaak says lived experiences have a lot to teach us. He says giving students the opportunity to enter the lives of refugee children in a war, but from a safe distance, can help build empathy and understanding. In this very special blog post, Yuot and is joined by his father, Mecak A. Alaak, an inspirational teacher working in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.
A.J. Betts had the idea for Hive eight years before she commenced writing it and 13 years before it was released. In between, she published three books, won an Emmy Award and did a PhD in the topic of wonder. A.J. said the idea for Hive came to her while she was on the Graham Farmer Freeway in Perth: ‘The traffic was really slow and I noticed the drip in the tunnel and I thought, that’s weird … In what situation would a drip be a problem or a danger?’